Monday, July 23, 2007

School's out

At this time of year, I wish I were a primary school teacher. How I would adore six weeks free from the daily grind … then I remember that I’m not particularly fond of children (I wish some of my teachers had had the decency to consider that fact when choosing their careers) and that actually, primary school teachers work damn hard. Probably.

In truth, I haven’t had the freedom of a six-week stretch of summer holidays since I was 13. The holidays between leaving middle school and going up to the scary high school were bookended by a week at an aunt’s and a week with a friend at her grandparents’. In the middle was the heaven of other people’s horses, sea and sand; days of fresh-air tiredness, of appetites sharpened by salty air and satisfied by guilt-free fish and chips.

After that, my summer holidays were spent working. I worked in a green grocer’s, where I learned to count the correct change into people’s hands; I worked in shop, where I learned it was politic to wait until the foul-smelling person left before blasting the air freshener; I worked in a chippy, where I learned to tell the difference between haddock and cod; I worked in an hotel, where I learned chefs enjoy a pint and making a mess, but are far too important to clear up after themselves.

Overall, I learned that, like children, I’m not overly keen on tourists and the service industry was not for me. I learned that if wanted something more out of life, I’d better get me an education. Then one day, pallid, indoor teenagers may be waiting on me as I enjoyed my moment in the sun.

11 comments:

Mopsa said...

Not having kids I never know when school's out. I only know I have to wait til school's back in to go on hols. And by then the beaches will have become dog friendly again.

mountainear said...

I had 3 sons and I couldn't wait for them to go back either. The silence was deafening on the first day back in September. Wonderful.

@themill said...

i think my boys are making a similar discovery! Glad you enjoyed HP. Will email you a question because I don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't read it yet.

Gill said...

My worst ever holiday job was working as a dishwasher in a small family hotel, mind you working as a chambermaid at the Heathrow Sheraton wasn't much fun either. (very shabby behind the scenes!)The most fun was working in a packing case factroy and wielding a staple gun! What was your most fun summer job?

Anonymous said...

Oh, Eminem ! Do what I've done - give up work ! You are far too creative and free spirited to be tied into the daily grind. I've been off work for two years now and life hasn't come to a grinding halt.

I think you need to take a step back and re-appraise your life. I'm sure that you could survive in a job working with children/animals or even both together if you really tried.

Of course you would have less money - and it is easy to see all sorts of obstacles and stumbling blocks which would prevent you going for it. Have a read of 'How to be free' by Tom Hodgkinson.

But seriously, think of a 'career break' or at least a proper 3-week holiday or 'gap month'. You'd be surprised just how relaxed you can get on a proper break, and you may be able to get a wider perspective on your plans for the future.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

The six week teacher holiday is a myth as far as I am concerned. This is the second day of my summer hols and where am I? Back in school working on my Department Improvement Plan and next year's class lists, moving furniture, ordering books, planning new KS3 units, refining the timetable - all for "pallid indoor teenagers".

ziggi said...

actually some of us don't actually break up until tomorrow! and then as YP says in and out all summer catching up and setting up!

Karen said...

you didn't tell them all the gory details mum - shame on you! tell them about all the silly and dirty things that guests did and your invitation from the pilot!

My best ever holiday job was working in a book shop in Stirling. The boss only briefly popped in for an hour a couple of times a week so you ran the show, we sold coffee from a proper barista machine which you could help yourself to, you could read any book you liked on the shelves and you could browse the internet to your heart's content! There were very few customers and the ones that did come in were lovely.

It was very Black Books (we staff nicknamed it the Book Dungeon as it was in a basement) but the boss wasn't a drunken Irishman!

Lizzie said...

All work and no play m&m.....

Gill said...

The dirtiest thing guests did in the sheraton was cooking rice in the kettle!!

mutterings and meanderings said...

Mopsa.. and horse friendly! I don't like free range children on the beach when you're galloping along and they suddenly decide to walk across your path ...

Mountainear, I don't believe you!

@themill, it its like a sudden revelation...

Gill, the most fun was picking strawberries, the worst was the chippie because you had to clean the loos if you were on late shift...

Anon, unfortunately, creativity and free-spiritedness does not pay the rent or feed the horse and cats ...

YP & Ziggi - please don't put me in detention! I did'nt mean to throw nastursiums!!! ;)


Karen, that sounds fab. I'd love a book shop...

Oh Lizzie, it's so true! (I do play a bit though..)

Gill, that's gross...